Category: GIFs

The Art Of The Perfect Gif

When it was first released in 1987, not many people knew what the popularity of the graphics interchange format, or gif, would look like. When the world wide web started to gain more traction, many of us were being introduced to gifs for the first time, and simply found them as fascinating moving pictures.

These days, however, gifs are an absolute art form on the internet. There are entire forums dedicated to people who make high-quality gifs and see who can come up with the best that also tell a story. Gifs are serious business on the internet, and it’s essentially how we’ve begun to communicate without using words that don’t really translate well through text. 

But how do you make the perfect gif that’s sure to please everyone? It isn’t easy and takes a lot of technical know-how, but once you get it right the first time, you’ll be making perfect gifs in your sleep. Let’s take a look at what makes a gif great, and learn the art of the perfect gif.


Sure, there are some gifs that end up going viral that could be considered “grainy” at best, but if you truly want to make the ‘perfect’ gif you have to focus on quality. Some of the best gifs that you’ll see on the internet have a resolution of at least 480p, with some being at 720p or 1080p. Some gifs look like they were ripped straight from a high-definition digital movie screen, and that’s how you want yours to look.

There are millions of gifs on the internet, and there was once a time when a high-quality gif would take far too long to load on a screen. With the increase in internet speeds around the world, though, there’s no such thing as a gif that’s too large. People can even resize gifs if they have slow computers and still want to see them.


You could come up with the best-looking gif in the world, but if it has someone in it that nobody knows (or hasn’t yet gone viral), it probably won’t get a lot of traction. Most gif-makers know that to get a lot of attention, the gif itself has to come from an entertainment source, or at least have a familiar face.

There are so many great gifs that are taken from movies and television shows. You can even add your own text to a scene to make it more unique. This has been done on just about any topic, from making “Seinfeld” characters talk about football games to “The Simpsons” characters talking about politics.


The biggest reason that gifs have become such a mainstream success and a staple of both personal and professional use is that they can be used to show a reaction to just about any situation. Whether it’s reacting to some great news or showing general sadness, a reaction gif can sum up what words never could.

There is legitimately reaction gifs for every emotion on the spectrum. Through host sites like Giphy or Tenor, you can simply type in how you’re feeling and you’re going to be bombarded with an endless amount of gifs that fit that emotion. We’ve probably all used some sort of gif of someone dancing happily on a Friday morning, knowing that the weekend is fast approaching.


If you want to impress other people who make gifs, aim to make them as long as you possibly can. Seriously, there is an online group of gif-makers that create ones that are several minutes in length. If you want a gif that’s going to end up going viral, you should try to keep things short. This doesn’t mean less than a second, though, as there has to be enough time for something to happen.

Some of the finest gif-makers have said that the sweet spot for gifs is between three and six seconds, though you should try to keep it closer to the three-second mark. Many gif-hosting sites won’t even allow an upload of a gif that lasts for more than 15 seconds, either, showing that short and sweet is applicable to gifs.


We mentioned that there are some great gifs where people put their own text into other scenes, but make sure to be careful of how wordy your gifs are if you want them to become popular.

Those that have no words at all end up becoming more popular in the long run. If you have to add a word, try to keep it to just one or two words. We’ll reference Friday again, which is one of the more popular reasons to send gifs. If you simply add the word “Friday” to a dancing gif, it’s not going to be too wordy.

Why Are Gifs So Popular?

On June 15, 1987, the Graphics Interchange Format was released by CompuServe thanks to computer scientist Stephen Earl Wilhite, and it changed the way we communicate forever. While Wilhite says that the pronunciation is like Jif peanut butter, many agree that it should be pronounced with a hard ‘g’. No matter what you call it, though, there’s no doubt that gifs are incredibly popular around the internet.

We use gifs as a way of communicating with one another, especially in terms of reacting to something that we’ve read or seen. No matter your age, you have almost been guaranteed to use a gif at some point when reacting. The weekend is coming up and you’re going to happy hour with the workgroup? There’s a gif for that. Your team just won and made the playoffs in their league? There’s a gif for that.

What is it about gifs that make us love them so much specifically, though? Let’s take a look at the wonderful world of gifs and see what it is that has us all obsessed and using them as a form of communication in today’s digital world.

More Than Words

One of the biggest problems with sending someone a message through text is that there is absolutely no emotion behind it. You can say “okay” in a text, and most people will think that you’re annoyed and being sarcastic, even if your “okay” is filled with enthusiasm and positivity. When you send a gif of a character emphatically saying “okay” with a lot of joy, you’re really getting your point across that you’re happy to be agreeing.

Nobody likes to read a one-word message. Science has shown that people feel like those messages are passive-aggressive, and the same goes with certain emojis like the thumbs-up or checkmark emojis. When it comes to gifs, though, you can convey a one-word message in a way that shows that you’re thinking about that person’s feelings. It’s certainly a problem that wasn’t around a couple of decades ago, but it’s just part of life now.

All Emotions

No matter what you’re feeling in that very moment, there’s a gif for that emotion. From laughing until you’re rolling around and feeling intense stomach pain to being so sick that you can’t move, there’s a gif for just about everything. Even someone that doesn’t particularly like gifs that much will probably end up using them because there are some for how they’re feeling that they can’t quite put into words.

Gifs of people laughing in particular are the ones that get the most traction on the internet. Sometimes just saying “lol” isn’t enough to show just funny you found something to be. Thanks to gifs, we can truly show just how hard we’re laughing. Comedy, despair, apathy, you name it, there’s a gif that shows exactly how you’re feeling.

Easy to Consume

You could send a video to show your reaction to something, but then someone has to open a specific app to watch it, and it might end up being too long. Gifs are much easier for someone to consume at that moment and don’t take forever to load. There are even gifs of entire movies like “Shrek” all condensed into one moving picture that can be viewed on the internet, that’s how far we’ve gotten with gifs.

The best part is that gifs can be sent in lieu of text these days because they won’t take a couple of minutes to load over wireless networks. These days, gifs are almost instantaneous, which has led to an explosion in their popularity. Remember the days of dial-up when a gif took longer to load than a YouTube video does in the current day? Thankfully that’s long done for.

Companies Want Them To Be

We’ve explained all the scientific reasons why gifs are so popular, but there’s a business aspect to it, as well. Companies like Facebook and Google have acquired gif websites like Tenor and GIPHY, and they want you to use them. Some companies pay to have their gifs show up first when you’re searching for a specific one, which is probably something that you didn’t know.

Social media pushes these gifs, though not many people are fooled into using a McDonald’s or Walmart gif just out of the blue. Still, with these companies present at the top of the search results, they’re at least getting eyes on their products.